Approaches to Vocational Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review of the Evidence

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Abstract

Background

Return to work after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important outcome but frequently problematic to achieve. Vocational rehabilitation is commonly recommended as a means of facilitating return to work after TBI. However, there are several different approaches to vocational rehabilitation after TBI and little guidance regarding how to identify the best option for a particular context.

Objectives

To (1) identify approaches most commonly underpinning vocational interventions in TBI and (2) evaluate the evidence for effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses, and application of each approach for the TBI population.

Methods

Principles of systematic review were used for searching and critiquing articles. Findings are expressed as descriptive synthesis owing to heterogeneity of designs and outcome measures.

Results

Three broad categories of vocational rehabilitation for people with TBI were identified on the basis of models that underpin them—program-based vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, and case coordinated. The characteristics, similarities, differences, and applications of each approach are described, as are their strengths and limitations.

Conclusions

There is little clear evidence to suggest what should be considered the “best practice” approach to vocational rehabilitation,

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